September 18, 2017
Paige Marlatt Dorr
SANTA ANA, Calif. – The California Community Colleges Board of Governors, in a resolution adopted by unanimous vote, today called on Congress to immediately and permanently preserve the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and further work toward comprehensive immigration reform. The board declared its unequivocal support for DACA recipients and other undocumented students in the California Community Colleges system.
The action is the latest in a series of measures the system has taken following the Trump Administration’s announced plans to eliminate the DACA program after a six-month pause allowing Congress to address the issue. Unless Congress acts, DACA benefits held by tens of thousands of students in the California Community Colleges system will begin to expire in March of 2018.
“Rescinding the DACA program punishes young people for actions over which they had no control,” said Board of Governors President Cecilia V. Estolano. “We all benefit from this program, which enables hardworking members of society to contribute to their communities, serve in our armed forces and make better lives for themselves and their families at our colleges. Congress must step up sooner, rather than later, and do the right thing.”
The resolution unanimously adopted today at the Board of Governors meeting in Santa Ana cites studies showing that deporting all DACA recipients in the United States would cost the federal government $60 billion and cause $280 billion in economic losses over 10 years.
“The California Community Colleges Board of Governors is unwavering in its support and promotion of programs, initiatives and policies designed to instill values associated with community and inclusion,” states the resolution, which also notes California’s diversity is a critical source of innovation and industry that creates one of the largest economies in the world and an economic engine for the country.
The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office has stated it remains committed to serving and supporting all students, regardless of immigration status, and seeing they reach their full potential. It also has said it will not release any personally identifiable student information related to immigration status without a judicial warrant, subpoena or court order, unless authorized by the student or required by law.
Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley was among several higher education leaders in the state who earlier this month sent a letter to California’s congressional delegation imploring federal lawmakers to resolve this issue before more lives are disrupted. Oakley will lead a California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office delegation traveling Oct. 2 to Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress for legislative action.
The Obama Administration established the DACA program in June of 2012 to provide administrative relief from deportation to eligible immigrants brought here without proper documentation when they were children. Applicants could seek DACA status, which would protect recipients from deportation and provide them with a work permit, for two years, subject to renewal. On Sept. 5, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the federal government intends to wind down the program.
The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation composed of 72 districts and 114 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. Community colleges supply workforce training, basic skills education and prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. The Chancellor’s Office provides leadership, advocacy and support under the direction of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. For more information about the community colleges, please visit our website.